Jesse Cheng has resigned as student regent of the University of California.
Cheng, a fifth-year Asian-American studies student at UC Irvine, said he submitted his resignation Friday. A formal announcement from UC Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould was released today, with Gould citing “personal reasons” for Cheng’s early departure from the board.
Public controversy engulfed Cheng in February after reports surfaced of his November arrest for sexual battery. Charges were not filed by his accuser, a UCLA graduate student who has gone by the name of “Laya.”
The UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct launched an investigation in response to the reports. The office has found Cheng responsible for “unwanted touching,” Cheng said.
At the March Board of Regents meeting, Gould said that a committee on governance would be monitoring Cheng and would meet upon completion of campus review. Students and alumni had approached the board earlier that morning to call for his removal.
Cheng said his decision was more in response to the distraction of the controversy rather than the verdict from the Office of Student Conduct, he said. He added that the thought of resigning has been on his mind since the controversy first arose.
Part of the reason he held off, Cheng said, was to ensure that Student-Regent Designate Alfredo Mireles would be able to move into a voting position before the official transfer of power in July.
After Cheng made the request and confirmed the vote, “it made the decision much easier,” he said.
He also noted that he would have been a “lame duck” at his last Regents meeting in May.
Cheng said he was not pressured to resign due to the controversy.
“People have been really supportive of me,” he said.
Mireles will take the voting student seat at the Board of Regents meeting this week. The UC Regents are meeting at UC San Francisco Tuesday and Wednesday.